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New Clause—(Pool Betting Duty (Exemption))

Volume 529: debated on Wednesday 7 July 1954

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

(1) Pool betting duty shall not be charged on bets made by way of pool betting in a competition for prizes for making forecasts as to sporting or other events, if, in relation to that competition the following conditions are satisfied, that is to say—

  • (a) that the promoter of the competition is a society not conducted or established for profit, or is a member of such a society and authorised by the governing body of the society to promote the competition;
  • (b) that the total amount payable by way of winnings in the competition does not exceed two hundred and fifty pounds;
  • (c) that the whole proceeds of the competition, after deducting the prizes therein and any expenses incurred in connection therewith, are applied for the purposes of the society; and
  • (d) that every coupon or other entry form shall bear upon the face of it the name and address of the society by which, or by the authority of which, the competition is promoted.
  • (2) For the purposes of this section the expression "society" includes a club, institution, organisation or other association, by whatever name called, and also includes any local or affiliated branch or section of such a club, institution, organisation or other association; and the expressions "pool betting duty," "pool betting," "promoter," have the same meanings as they have in the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1947.—[ Mr. Mulley.]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

    I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

    The purpose of this Clause is to exempt from Pool Betting Duty, which is at present levied at the rate of 30 per cent. of the total money staked, certain small pools that comply with the conditions set out in the Clause. The first is as to size, that the total paid by way of winnings does not exceed £250. As the prizes are unlikely to be less than 40 per cent. or 50 per cent. of the total money the pool would not be in size more than about £400 or £500 a week. Even if the prizes amounted to as little as 25 per cent. of the proceeds the total size of the pool would be limited in this way to about £1,000.

    Under the Pool Betting Act, 1954, as from 1st January next the pools will have to publish weekly and annual statements of the prizes paid and the moneys deducted for expenses. Obviously, if a society made a very small return in prizes out of the moneys received that would come to the notice of the people who patronised it, and would, in consequence, not exist very long. In addition, there is general supervision by the accountant to be appointed by the local authority with which the society is required to register. So there are sufficient safeguards to ensure that this exemption, if it were granted, would not be abused.

    The exemption will apply only to competitions conducted by or on behalf of societies not conducted or established for profit, and whose proceeds, after deductions for prizes and expenses, are devoted to the purposes of the society. I am advised that this definition will be wide enough to include football and cricket supporters' clubs, Church and charitable organisations, political and social clubs.

    Can the hon. Gentleman say whether this would cover the inhabitants of a small village desirous of building a village hall, and running such a pool for that purpose?

    I cannot claim to be an expert on the law in the matter, but presumably it would, because it applies to non-profit-making organisations, and if the purpose of the village society were to build a hall and the pool proceeds were devoted to that purpose, I should think that the society would fall within the conditions of the Clause. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) is hoping to speak on this new Clause, and if he does he will be able to deal at greater length with the hon. Member's question.

    The necessity for the Clause arises from a series of prosecutions and the closure in recent months on police advice of a large number of competitions that were run by these types of organisations. Having been advised to close under the provisions of the Betting and Lotteries Act, their only alternative is to turn themselves into pools as defined by the Finance Acts of 1947 and 1952. In so doing they possibly become legal and they certainly attract Pool Betting Duty at the rate of 30 per cent., which is a very large amount, and is particularly hard on the smaller societies, because 30 per cent. tax probably represents a bigger sum than they are getting for the expenses of running a lottery or pool.

    The extent to which these organisations are registering as pools can be gauged from figures the Chancellor gave me in reply to a Written Question on 1st June. On 1st January, 1954, there were 47 pools registered to pay duty and 35 paying duty. By 1st May the number had risen from 47 to 90, and the total paying duty had risen from 35 to 73, more than double. Although from the figures the Chancellor gave me it is impossible to say that the increase is entirely due to organisations of the kind I have been talking about and such as would be covered by the new Clause, there is good reason to suppose that most of them will be those societies and clubs obliged to operate as pools, and so obliged to pay 30 per cent. duty. But for the tax many of the societies that have been closed would have been operating and would have been permitted to operate as pools.

    Even with the tax at 30 per cent. the number grows. There is evidence of that in "The Times" of 5th July. Under the heading, "Hope of saving aid to county cricket. Scheme to legalise competitions," there appeared the following news:
    "A scheme has been put forward which will, it is hoped, save the football competitions organised by supporters' associations of several county cricket clubs, which have recently been banned by the police.…All the associations represented at the meeting had agreed to recommend to their committees that the scheme be brought into force. The new competitions would have to be registered as football pools and would be liable to taxation."
    The plight of the competitions is likely to get much worse, judging by the following passage in "The Times":
    "Police have warned officials of Colchester United Football Supporters' Club that the football competition which their club have been running for their 38,000 members is illegal and must cease. It is understood that similar action is being taken with the Chelmsford City and Clacton Town competitions. At the Colchester supporters' annual meeting last week it was reported that £11,000 had been contributed to the parent club."
    Those are but examples of many instances that have occurred during the year.

    County cricket is especially worthy of the Chancellor's consideration, because only last year he made a special tax concession to county cricket in view of its special circumstances. County cricket would not go on in the less fashionable counties, even with the benefit of the tax concession, unless it had supporters' clubs able to raise considerable sums of money. The Chancellor here has a great opportunity to provide a relief which would give widespread satisfaction.

    5.30 p.m.

    I will deal with the matter of cost in a moment. It may be objected that what is needed is not an amendment to the Finance Bill, but an amendment of the Betting and Lotteries Act to enable the competitions to continue to be run as formerly as lotteries under Section 24 of that Act. Of course, they would not attract any Pool Betting Duty.

    It may be argued that it would be unreasonable to attempt to amend the betting law by means of a new Clause to the Finance Bill, but, of course, we should not be doing that. We should only be dealing with the matter of taxation, and while I would not pretend for a moment that the better way of doing what I seek to do by this Clause would be by an amendment of the Betting and Lotteries Act, I think that we have to be very realistic about it and realise that such an amendment is not likely to take place for some time.

    The Government have been fairly sympathetic, but they have given no undertaking, or even an indication that they will introduce legislation for this purpose next year. It may be that a private Member will see fit and have the good fortune to do so, but one does not know, and, even with the maximum of good fortune, this state of affairs is bound to last for at least another year.

    I had hoped, in my own Bill, to meet the point, but the situation did not arise until after the Bill was drafted, and, of course, the long Title prohibited dealing with this lottery point. While I hope that the Financial Secretary or the Chancellor will tell us that some legislation is contemplated at an early date, I submit that in the meantime this new Clause could meet the point.

    I suggest to the Chancellor that it would cost him nothing at all, at least nothing in the way of revenue that he expected to get. No tax remission, of course, ever costs nothing, but the Chancellor could surely not have foreseen, when drawing up his Budget, that there would be this wave of prosecutions and all this closing down of lotteries, and the application by the societies concerned, to become pools, and, therefore, to become liable to pay the Pool Betting Duty. At any rate, I do not think the Chancellor contemplated that, in the present week, there would be county cricket supporters' associations contemplating the paying of Pool Betting Duty next year.

    I may be wrong, but, obviously, the Chancellor could not have anticipated, when drawing up his expenditure and revenue for this year, any additional revenue in this way from the tax. Therefore, any tax which these bodies pay is in the nature of a windfall to the Chancellor, and one, I submit to him, which he can very well do without. The Pool Betting Duty was never designed to be imposed upon football supporters' clubs and Church and charitable organisations. Indeed, when the duty was first imposed in 1947, all these organisations were, in fact, operating as lotteries, and therefore did not come within the definition.

    It may be that the Financial Secretary will fall back on the technical argument of drafting as a reason for resisting the Clause. However, I think he will appreciate that even though I had the benefit and assistance of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering in the matter, it is very difficult to draft Clauses of this character so as to satisfy the very exact standards of the Customs and Excise. This Clause was on the Order Paper during the Committee stage, but, unfortunately, it was not called. Therefore, I hope that the Financial Secretary will not fall back on the technical excuse of drafting.

    I wish to make it quite clear that I am not especially tied to the form of words used in the Clause, or even to the figure of £250. I am seeking to get the Government to accept the principle that Pool Betting Duty need not be charged in the case of charitable non-profit-making organisations which have formed themselves into pools as a result of the limitations of the Betting and Lotteries Act. I suggest to the Financial Secretary that, even if he is unable to accept the Clause in its present form, he should accept the principle contained in it and amend the Bill in another place.

    I doubt whether this Bill will get a certificate as a money Bill. Does the Financial Secretary deny the possibility of amending it in another place? If the Government think that something on these lines should be done, then I am sure that they should not allow a little inconvenience to stand in their way. Otherwise, I think it ought to go on record that the Government are prepared to let a little inconvenience stand between thousands of people and the relief which they seek. If that is so, then I think that the Financial Secretary should make it clear so that the people may know what the situation is when these matters are raised, as they frequently are, in the constituencies.

    To suggest that the Finance Bill should be amended in another place is surely an unusual suggestion to come from the benches opposite.

    Though the hon. Gentleman is very learned in the matter, I would remind him that more than half the Finance Bills in recent years have not been classed as money Bills, and I think that the present Bill is one of them. The necessary Amendment would be of a technical character, and it would come back to this House. Therefore, I can see no objection to it. I do not wish to go into the constitutional argument as, otherwise, I may strain the patience of the Chair. I hope that we shall get a favourable reply from the Financial Secretary because this duty is causing considerable hardship to a great number of very worthy organisations.

    Although the proposed new Clause would not provide the complete solution to the problem, it would at least provide a temporary relief. I would point out to the Chancellor that he will lose this money in any event when the Betting and Lotteries Act is amended—as it must eventually be—because the organisations concerned will then become lotteries, and will not be subject to the Pools Betting Duty.

    There is also, I submit, considerable administrative and management charges involved in collecting small packets of tax of this sort, and I doubt very much whether in some cases the cost of collection would not be greater than the tax itself. In addition, it may well be that some organisations are still running illegal lotteries, and that, nevertheless, the Customs and Excise are collecting duty from them as though they were pools, because the law on the point is extremely obscure. I am sure that it would be very embarrassing for the Customs and Excise if it were subsequently shown that they had been taking money in respect of a competition that was, in fact, an illegal competition.

    Therefore, I suggest to the Chancellor that on administrative grounds and on those of equity he should give up his claim to a tax windfall which he did not expect to get, because that is really all this Clause means. If he does that, he will give encouragement and hope to thousands of voluntary workers in the organisations concerned, and will enable a number of football and cricket clubs to continue in existence which, in default of a relief of this kind, may next season be obliged to close their doors.

    I beg to second the Motion.

    I wish to tell the House why I think that this is a matter of very considerable importance. The object of the proposed new Clause is a simple one—the removal of the obligation to pay Pool Betting Duty on non-profiting-making pools, subject to certain conditions concerning the size of the prizes and subject to no commissions being paid.

    I should have thought that, in general, the type of pool that might be organised in aid of a village hall or similar purpose would be helped by this Clause. In the past, it has not been the practice in very many cases to have this type of small non-profit-making pool. Of course, there have been some, but they have not been very numerous. What has happened is that there have been lotteries—the line between a lawful pool and an unlawful lottery is a very fine one—run for good purposes, sometimes on quite a small scale. An obvious instance is the football supporters' clubs.

    Recently, the police have gone round the country and have told people running these lotteries that they were illegal, or might be illegal, and that they would have to prosecute if the lotteries were continued. This has raised a serious social question which I will not go into at any length now, but it seems to me quite clear that in a number of these cases the lotteries in question were serving a perfectly good purpose, and the line between what is and what is not a lottery in this country is so fine and so difficult to draw that it is quite impossible to make a moral distinction depend upon it.

    A football pool in the usual form is legal and has been held to be legal. If we put it into a different form, and make it depend on the number of goals instead of merely on the winning teams, it becomes illegal. Even the exercise, to which I have never been able to aspire, commonly known as the crossword puzzle, is held to be a lottery in certain circumstances. Surely, if a football pool is not a lottery and a crossword puzzle is a lottery, there is something wrong and absurd about the law.

    The position in which these people have been put is this. They have either to bring themselves within the very limited Clauses, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley) has referred, about private lotteries in the 1934 Act, or they have to convert themselves into football pools. The obstacle about converting themselves into football pools is the tax. That is the main obstacle.

    I do not believe that the tax was ever intended to apply to that sort of case. I am not saying "intended to imply" in the technical sense in which, of course, it applies at present; but I do not believe that when the tax was imposed originally anyone was thinking of the circumstances which have now arisen. I repeat "the circumstances." People who have been running small illegal lotteries, for what I believe we would all say were, on the whole, good purposes or, at any rate, not bad purposes, have now been prosecuted or threatened with prosecution when, in fact, they had deliberately been overlooked before. They are, therefore, faced with the alternative, either of bringing themselves within the small private lottery provisions of the 1934 Act, which is an exceedingly difficult thing to do, or of converting themselves into lawful football pools.

    The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to such a conversion as an obstacle. Surely it is not an obstacle, it is merely an additional financial burden on the small pool that is created.

    I think it would have the effect of deterring a very large number of people from going on with the pool. I think that it would be a real deterrent to the type of thing which we have in mind.

    I have been asked in my own constituency, "What do we do about our football supporters' clubs?" and I have said, "There are only two choices before you—one is to bring yourselves within the provisions of the 1934 Act"—and there will have to be very substantial changes in order to do it, but I should not be in order in discussing that—"or you turn yourselves into a football pool." The answer I received—and hon. Members who may have said the same thing on a similar occasion have probably received the same answer—was, "Well, in that case we have to pay the Pool Betting Duty, and it simply is not worth it."

    It is not only the case of the Pool Betting Duty, they are also, of course, to be supervised—they do not object to that—but it is the actual amount of this rattier heavy Duty of 30 per cent. which, I believe, is deterring people. If it is held that that is a doubtful case, we could not have a better reason than the one produced by an hon. Member opposite just now of raising money for something in the nature of a village hall.

    We have to take people as we find them, and the fact remains that if we raise money by something of this sort we get more money than if we ask for direct subscriptions. I am not here drawing a fine distinction about the morality of these matters. I say frankly that it does not seem to me in that sort of case to be wrong. I can understand that other people may think otherwise, but I do not believe that the broad sense of the community takes that view. I think that they look, as British people always do, at the real substance of the matter, and the same reasons that led to the legalisation of small raffles and small lotteries to a limited extent in the 1934 Act would induce them to say that it is perfectly right to give a similar protection, although in an entirely different field, to these small pools.

    5.45 p.m.

    I said just now that the line is a fine one. It is, of course, fine both for purposes of the law and for purposes of morality. One might object to football pools. They are, however, legal, and, so long as that is the position, it does not seem to me that there ought to be any moral objection to seeing that the duty is fairly applied and limited to the kind of cases which, I believe, the House had in mind when they were passing the original duty.

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer will no doubt tell us what this is to cost. I think that my hon. Friend made it quite clear that what we had in mind by this new Clause was not only and perhaps not mainly the present position, but that we were deliberately intending to open the door to a certain amount of small pool-making, if I may use that term. That is to say, we deliberately intended to allow people, so far as the financial position was concerned, to run and support small pools.

    I entirely agree with what my hon. Friend said, that it would be far more satisfactory if, instead of dealing with a matter of this sort in a Finance Bill, we were able to discuss, fully and properly, the whole position about lotteries as well as pools and, indeed, the whole position about betting and wagering. I do not want to get out of order and, therefore, I would only say this: I think that the recent change in the attitude of the police authorities all over the country, for whatever reason, from the attitude they adopted, and said they adopted, when they were giving evidence before the Royal Commission in 1950—that that change of attitude and one or two other things has made a thorough revision of that sort absolutely imperative.

    If it is not done I think that a great many sporting, charitable and, possibly, religious organisations will find themselves in very serious difficulty because the law is in a mess and the Government have not the courage to bring forward a Measure to put it right. I say at once that I think it needs a lot of courage for this is an extremely touchy and difficult matter, but it ought to be done.

    Until it is done, and also because this is right in itself, I support the Clause. I hope that the Chancellor will accept it as it is. It is not a very complicated Clause. I do not think we need worry too much about having it amended or not amending it. Why should we not take it as it is? It is in plain English and says what it means. It is a very good Clause for a very good purpose; it has been very skilfully drafted, and it is even better in its intention and effect than in its language.

    I am sure that the House will agree that the right way to achieve the object for which the proposed Clause is drawn is, as was said by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), by reform of the betting and lotteries legislation. However, whatever strictures may be passed upon the present administration, I am sure the hon. and learned Member will recognise that were it to change within the next two or three years reform of that legislation would still be waiting to be dealt with in the future. Thus, we are faced with an immediate problem.

    The problem has arisen as a result of the apparent change in policy of police forces in various parts of the country which has led them to advise those who organise football competitions, in aid, particularly, of football clubs, that they are acting illegally.

    The part of the country which I represent is particularly affected. We have a small and struggling team which, unfortunately, last year ended fairly low in the Third Division. This team has depended very largely upon the work of its supporters and the financial help which it has received during the last few years by means of a football competition. The team is supported by a number of constituents of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He may well feel, as he may be, as I am, a member of the supporters' club, the indignation of the members of the Colchester United Supporters' Club when they found that they were no longer able to give the team such financial help in the future.

    Admittedly, there is a way out, and it was pointed by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley). It is possible to turn the football competition into a football pool, but if that is done it will be subject to the 30 per cent. tax. It is a very different matter to get enthusiastic supporters to raise money in this way if they know that 30 per cent. of the reward of their efforts will go to the Exchequer. I am sure that all hon. Members are anxious to support the Exchequer normally according to the law, but it is hard if, in one's spare time, one is called upon to work to provide additional revenue for the Treasury.

    Consequently, although the drafting may not commend itself to my right hon. Friend, I feel that the object of the Clause ought to commend itself to the House. I am sure that I should be supported in these remarks by my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Ashton) if he were in the Chamber, because one of the teams most recently affected by the decision was Chelmsford Town. On the other side of my constituency, Clacton Football Club has also been affected by it.

    The decision affects the more modest football teams throughout the country who are struggling against considerable financial difficulty and whose supporters want to be able to ensure that their teams continue to give the entertainment and pleasure which these small clubs give.

    Even if my right hon. Friend cannot accept the wording of the proposed Clause, I hope that he will at any rate give us some hope that he looks upon the Clause, or will do so next year, with sympathy so that it will be possible for those who desire to continue to support activities of this sort, which are very desirable and essential, will have some expectation that in future their efforts will not be subject to 30 per cent. tax.

    I imagine that hon. Members on both sides of the House will sympathise very much with the object of the proposed Clause. The hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) suggested—I agree with him—that the attitude of the police authorities until 1950 was probably more in keeping with public opinion all over the country than their attitude since then. We all recognise that their duty is to enforce the law, and the existing law apparently forbids these lotteries, but what disturbs me is why for so many years the police authorities did not do anything. I always understood that the kind of lottery which was then taking place was illegal.

    Be that as it may, here is an attempt to give some assistance to non-profit-making bodies which are forced into a difficult position by the chaotic nature of our law on this subject. I can give two examples from my own constituency. The Glamorgan County Cricket Club was one of the less fashionable county clubs in the past, but in recent years it has been more successful than hitherto. It was among the clubs which desired to maintain county cricket in soil which has not always produced county cricketers. To do this, it was induced to institute a scheme, and a supporters' club was established. My hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) should not be too hasty in condemnation of this, because I believe that the idea was copied from the Worcestershire Cricket Club.

    As a result of its efforts, the supporters' club bought certain equipment for the cricket club, paid for seating in some of the county grounds and instituted two nurseries for the training of young cricketers. All of these were desirable objects. The purist who objects to all forms of gambling will say that these are improper objects, but I am sure that the great majority of our people, whether they be associated with an organised religious body or not, will feel that that view is not tenable and that these objects are completely different from the form of gambling which is calculated to damage the social life of a family. The weekly subscription to the cricket team's supporters' club was 1s. per person. No one could be led into a life of intemperate gambling by subscribing to such a scheme.

    There was a not dissimilar scheme at Rudry, in my constituency, to which I referred in an intervention to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley). The local inhabitants formed a body with the very laudable object of building a village hall. There is no proper hall where the villagers can hold social functions. By means of some such scheme the people of the village have contrived, since the last war, to accumulate a few thousand pounds, which is a very large sum for such a small village. They are now faced with a strange state of affairs, that they cannot go on without turning their former scheme into a football pool or without using great ingenuity to bring it within the terms of the 1934 Act, possibly an even more difficult feat.

    I sincerely hope that there will be a wholesale re-examination of the inadequacy of our betting laws; that the Financial Secretary will be able to say that he views this Clause with sympathy and understanding; and that he will do his best to implement its object, because I feel that here is a case which is in keeping with public opinion, and public opinion on such an issue should be considered.

    6.0 p.m.

    This debate has ranged over wide issues covering views very largely on the present state of our laws on betting and lotteries and the whole complexities of the law effecting gambling. There are very great difficulties in discussing those sort of subjects by way of an amendment to the Finance Bill or, indeed, dealing with the problems that arise in connection with them by way of amending the Finance Bill. Apart from anything else, the general responsibility for the law affecting this matter rests, as the House knows, with my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary. We are here only concerned with the very edge of the general problem, because it is sought to alter indirectly the effect of the general law on this subject by way of an adjustment of our taxation law.

    That is a very difficult thing to do, and if I may say so, perhaps of doubtful merit on principle. I fully understand the practical considerations, and I will in a moment come to them and to what lay behind the remarks of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley) and of other hon. Members. I think it is fair to say that if this House wants to consider the laws affecting betting and lotteries it is very difficult to give full weight to the differing views that are held in different parts of the country, and not at all along party lines, on the very narrow and limited point with which alone we are strictly concerned here, namely, the proposed new Clause to the Finance Bill. The hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) and the hon. Member for Sheffield, Park themselves regard this new Clause as, at the most, the second best compared with what they really wish to do.

    I think I can make the matter quite clear by saying that if the law were amended the need for the new Clause would not arise, because there would be no such societies registered as pools. I agree that the point is difficult to deal with in this way, but surely on the Finance Bill we have to take notice of the fact that a tax which was designed for one purpose has been changed and is beginning to be applied to matters for which in the first instance it was not designed. That is why it is raised in this way.

    I fully understand the hon. Member's point and I will answer it in due time, but he appreciates that it is very difficult to deal with the general law on the subject by way of an adjustment to the revenue.

    There is one side issue I should like to mention before dealing with the main consideration. I was surprised to hear a criticism of the present position as it affects cricket. At an earlier stage of our debates on the Finance Bill we heard criticism of the favourable way in which my right hon. Friend had treated cricket, and I should have thought that we have an extraordinary good case in cricket, so good that hon. Members opposite wished other games and sports to have the same terms. Our hands are singularly clean in cricket, sometimes even in catching the ball.

    The general point of the difficulty of dealing with this matter by way of an amendment to the Revenue law is very clearly brought out when one looks at what precisely it is proposed to do, and my criticism of the Clause is not that it is ill-drafted. I think the hon. and learned Gentleman who drafted it performed a workmanlike job in so doing, but when we come to consider it in detail it 'brings out the very real difficulty which arises once we try to tinker with the laws on betting and lotteries by way of amending the Finance Bill.

    Let us see what it is that is proposed. Under the first subsection it is proposed
    "that the promoter of the competition is a society not conducted or established for profit."
    Immediately we try to apply those words to the subject matter with which hon. Members are concerned—that is, the subject matter of these small pools connected particularly with sporting clubs—we come up against the difficulty that these words do not bite on the problem at all.

    In practice, these small pools are organised generally not by the club itself which is to get the ultimate benefit but by a committee or individual on its behalf, and that committee or individual is, in fact, conducting a business of operating pools and certainly—here I fall into the condemnation of the hon. Member for Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) about double negatives—not being conducted not for profit. The whole object of those who are promoting pools in that way is the raising of money for a good purpose, and, as I understand, they would not be covered by the benefit given by this new Clause nor, indeed, if we follow the matter back—

    If the right hon. Gentleman would read the Clause he would see that they are covered by these words:

    "…or is a member of such a society and authorised by the governing body of the society to promote the competition."
    That, I think, meets the situation.

    It does not meet it at all. The promoter is either a separate person or a member of the committee. In both cases if he conducts the matter in the way which I have described he would not get the benefit of not conducting for profit. It does not make the slightest difference if it is looked at as an alternative. The result is precisely the same.

    Let us come to the question of the ultimate recipient. Reference has been made to professional football clubs. Generally speaking, they do not come within this definition either, so even if it were possible to get over the initial difficulty of the actual person promoting or conducting the Bill and get to the principle of the recipient of the money, then at any rate in many of the cases, and in particular the cases to which hon. Members have indicated that they attach considerable importance, this proposal would not benefit them. The ordinary, professional football club is not in law a body not conducted for profit, and, therefore, a supporters' club attempting to raise money to assist such clubs is not covered, because it will come under the second difficulty of the ultimate recipient.

    I do not make that point to demonstrate that the new Clause is drafted on bad grounds. I tried to draft too many Amendments in Opposition myself to say that, but it is an indication that, however well a provision is drafted along these lines, it simply does not fit the facts. Therefore, we cannot deal with this matter satisfactorily in this way, and that, I am afraid, is the conclusion about the proposal to which, after a good deal of consideration, my right hon. Friend has come.

    There are other difficulties which I should put before the House. There is certainly the difficulty of principle in exempting from tax a normal trading activity because the profits are to be given to a good cause. That is a general principle which obviously gives rise to considerable difficulties. There is the problem, too, of competition with the small professional pools—the question whether it is fair to exempt completely this kind of pool and maintain tax at a high rate on the small professional pool. Apart altogether from the fact that the Clause does not do what it is intended to do, I do not think that the House will find a satisfactory solution to the problem on the lines of this proposal, and I do not think that we shall find it by amendment or alteration of the Clause, such as the hon. Member for Sheffield, Park was generous enough to suggest.

    I shared the excitement of my hon. Friend the Member for Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle) when I heard the hon. Member's suggestion that the Finance Bill should be amended in another place. I understand that that has not been done since another place amended Lloyd George's Finance Bill in 1909. Such a suggestion would raise most serious questions of Privilege. The suggestion was all the more remarkable in that it came from that side of the House which has not been always notorious for its advocacy of the rights of another place.

    Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would bear in mind the possibility that the satisfactory outcome of the events of 1911 might be repeated.

    I do not know that that would be a particular inducement to another place to take the line which the hon. Member was good enough to suggest.

    This is a very real problem. I realise that the proposal is put forward because of the difficulty which is arising in the case of lotteries, which are now held to be outside the law. It is no duty of mine to comment upon the exercise of their rights by the prosecuting authorities, nor does it fall to me or my right hon. Friend to deal with proposals for amending the law itself. This is a problem which my right hon. Friend will be glad to discuss with my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary in the coming year. The Home Secretary is considering this general aspect of the law at present, although, of course, it is not possible to hold out hopes of early legislation. I can say, however, that this debate has been extremely helpful in bringing out very clearly and underlining at any rate one of the difficulties that can arise in the present state of our law, and in raising the particular aspect of it to which attention can and will be given during the coming year.

    What the result of consideration of a complex, difficult and controversial matter of this sort would be, it would be wrong for me to attempt to forecast, but I can say to my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) that full consideration will be given to this aspect of the matter and that during the coming year the law on this subject will be subjected by the Home Secretary to very careful thought to see whether improvements can be made. For the reasons that I have given—that it does not do what it sets out to do and that it only touches a corner of the very real problem—it is not possible for my right hon. Friend to accept the new Clause.

    It has been known for some time that this problem would become as acute as it has become recently. When the matter is being considered, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that unless something is done the "Poppies" who play football for Kettering and the "Steelbacks" who play for Corby will not be able to continue their activities?

    6.15 p.m.

    The remarkable unanimity of the four speeches that we have heard on this subject led one to expect that the Financial Secretary would come down heavily on the side of doing something in this new situation, but the right hon. Gentleman advanced general reasons why the new Clause could not be accepted. He said that he did not think it right to use taxation, or relief from taxation, for this kind of purpose. In fact, we commonly use relief from taxation as a way of encouraging enterprises and projects which we think are desirable. Certainly, in the field of entertainment this is now fairly common.

    The Financial Secretary gave the example of cricket, where, he said, his hands were unusually clean.

    I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon if I appeared to be offensive and to be suggesting that his hands were not usually clean. The right hon. Gentleman took the case of cricket and showed where taxation relief had been used to encourage something that was desirable. If it could be done in the case of cricket, it could be done in circumstances like these.

    In the main, however, our case must rest on two sets of arguments. The first is that it really ought not to be impossible to distinguish between the football pool promoter who is in business for profit and the society or other undertaking that is trying to raise some money. Secondly, it is important to appreciate the difference in the circumstances—that circumstances have changed by reason of the very strict application of the law in recent times, about which perhaps the Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department might tell us if that were in order.

    In these circumstances, in which there, has been a change compelling people who used to raise money in one way to raise it in another, we ask whether the Government cannot do something to give some relief. We are, therefore, very disappointed with the Financial Secretary. Without any reflection on the choice, I must say that this new Clause had been put down at an early stage but was not selected and, therefore, we recognise that there is a difficulty about the matter. All the same, we expected a more forthcoming reply from the Financial Secretary. We hope that even at this late hour he will go further to meet us than he has done so far.

    Question put.

    The House divided: Ayes, 206; Noes, 265.

    Division No. 190.]

    AYES

    6.19 p.m.

    Albu, A. H.Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)Pearson, A.
    Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)Hastings, S.Peart, T. F.
    Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Hayman, F. H.Popplewell, E.
    Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)Porter, G.
    Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
    Awbery, S. S.Herbison, Miss M.Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
    Bacon, Miss AliceHobson, C. R.Proctor, W. T.
    Balfour, A.Holman, P.Pryde, D. J.
    Bartley, P.Houghton, DouglasPursey, Cmdr. H
    Beattie, J.Hoy, J. H.Rankin, John
    Bence, C. R.Hubbard, T. F.Reid, Thomas (Swinden)
    Bonn, Hon. WedgwoodHughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)Reid, William (Camlachie)
    Benson, G.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)Rhodes, H.
    Blackburn, F.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Richards, R.
    Blenkinsop, A.Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
    Blyton, W. R.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
    Boardman, H.Janitor, B.Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
    Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.Jeger, George (Goole)Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
    Bowden, H. W.Jeger, Mrs, LenaRoss, William
    Bowles, F. G.Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)Royle, C.
    Brook, Dryden (Halifax)Jones, David (Hartlepool)Shackleton, E. A. A.
    Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
    Brown, Thomas (Ince)Jones, Jack (Rotherham)Short, E. W.
    Burke, W. A.Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
    Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)Keenan, W.Skeffington, A. M.
    Callaghan, L. J.Kenyon, C.Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
    Castle, Mrs. B. A.Key, Rt. Hon. C. WSlater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)
    Champion, A. J.King, Dr. H. M.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
    Clunie, J.Kinley, J.Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
    Coldrick, W.Lawson, G. M.Sorensen, R. W.
    Collick, P. H.Lee, Frederick (Newton)Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
    Corbet, Mrs. FredaLee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)Sparks, J. A.
    Cove, W. G.Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)Steele, T.
    Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Lindgren, G. S.Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.
    Crosland, C. A. R.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
    Cullen, Mrs. A.MacColl, J. E.Sylvester, G. O.
    Daines, P.McGovern, J.Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
    Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.McInnes, J.Taylor, John (West Lothian)
    Darling, George (Hillsborough)McKay, John (Wallsend)Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
    Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)McLeavy, F.Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
    Deer, G.Mainwaring, W. H.Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
    Dodds, N. N.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
    Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)Mann, Mrs. JeanThornton, E.
    Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Manuel, A. C.Timmons, J.
    Edelman, M.Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.Tomney, F.
    Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)Mason, RoyUngoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
    Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)Mayhew, C. P.Usborne, H. C.
    Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)Hellish, R. J.Watkins, T. E.
    Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)Master, Sir F.Weitzman, D.
    Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)Mitchison, G. R.Wells, Percy (Faversham)
    Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)Moody, A. S.Wells, William (Walsall)
    Fernyhough, E.Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.West, D. G.
    Fienburgh, W.Morley, R.Wheeldon, W. E.
    Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)While, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
    Follick, M.Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisharn, S.)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
    Forman, J. C.Mort, D. L.Wigg, George
    Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)Moyle, A.Wilkins, W. A.
    Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. NMulley, F. W.Willey, F. T.
    Gibson, C. W.Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. JWilliams, David (Neath)
    Glanville, JamesO'Brien, T.Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
    Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.Oldfield, W. HWilliams, W. R. (Droylsden)
    Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.Oliver, G. H.Willis, E. G.
    Grey, C. F.Oswald, T.Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
    Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)Padley, W. E.Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
    Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)Wyatt, W. L
    Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Yates, V. F.
    Hamilton, W. W.Palmer, A. M. F.
    Hannan, W.Pannell, CharlesTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
    Hardy, E. A.Parker, J.Mr. Holmes and
    Hargreaves, A.Paton, JMr. James Johnson.

    NOES

    Aitken, W. T.Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)
    Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)Baldwin, A. E.Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)
    Alport, C. J. Ml.Banks, Col. C.Bennett, William (Woodside)
    Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)Barber, AnthonyBevins, J. R. (Toxteth)
    Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton)Barlow, Sir JohnBishop, F. P.
    Arbuthnot, JohnBaxter, Sir BeverleyBlack, C. W.
    Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)Beach, Maj. HicksBossom, Sir A. C.
    Aster, Hon. J. J.Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A

    Boyle, Sir EdwardHinchingbrooke, ViscountOrr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
    Braine, B. R.Hirst, GeoffreyPage, R. G.
    Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)Holt, A. F.Peaks, Rt. Hon. O.
    Braithwaite, Sir GurneyHope, Lord JohnPeto, Brig. C. H. M.
    Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. HenryPeyton, J. W. W.
    Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.Piekthorn, K. W. M.
    Brooman-White, R. C.Horobin, I. M.Pitt, Mist E. M.
    Browne, Jack (Govan)Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. FlorencePowell, J. Enoch
    Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
    Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
    Burden, F. F. A.Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)Profumo, J. D.
    Butcher, Sir HerbertHulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.Raikes, Sir Victor
    Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)Ramsden, J. E.
    Campbell, Sir DavidHyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.Rayner, Brig. R.
    Carr, RobertHylton-Foster, H. B. H.Redmayne, M.
    Cary, Sir RobertIremonger, T. L.Rees-Davies, W. R.
    Channon, H.Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)Remnant, Hon. P.
    Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)Jennings, Sir RolandRenton, D. L. M.
    Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)Johnson, Eric (Blackley)Ridsdale, J. E.
    Cole, NormanJohnson, Howard (Kemptown)Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
    Colegate, W. A.Jones, A. (Hall Green)Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
    Conant, Maj. Sir RogerJoynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
    Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. AlbertKaberry, D.Roper, Sir Harold
    Cooper-Key, E. M.Kerby, Capt. H. B.Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
    Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)Kerr, H. W.Russell, R. S.
    Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.Lambton, ViscountRyder, Capt. R. E. D
    Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Lancaster, Col. C. G.Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas
    Crouch, R. F.Langford-Holt, J. A.Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
    Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)Leather, E. H. C.Scott, R. Donald
    Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
    Davidson, ViscountessLegh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)Shepherd, William
    Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
    Deedes, W. F.Lindsay, MartinSmithers, Peter (Winchester)
    Digby, S. WingfieldLinstead, Sir H. N.Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
    Dedds-Parker, A. D.Llewellyn, D. T.Snadden, W. McN.
    Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)Spearman, A. C. M.
    Donner, Sir P. W.Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)Speir, R. M.
    Doughty, C. J. A.Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
    Douglas-Hamilton, Lord MalcolmLockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
    Drayton, G. B.Longden, GilbertStevens, Geoffrey
    Drewe, Sir C.Low, A. R. W.Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
    Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
    Duthie, W. S.Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)Storey, S.
    Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughStrauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
    Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
    Erroll, F. J.McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.Studholme, H. G.
    Finlay, GraemeMacdonald, Sir PeterSummers, G. S.
    Fisher, NigelMackeson, Brig. Sir HarrySutcliffe, Sir Harold
    Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.McKibbin, A. J.Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
    Fletcher-Cooke, C.Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
    Ford, Mrs. PatriciaMaclay, Rt. Hon. JohnTeeling, W.
    Fort, R.Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
    Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
    Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David MaxwellMacmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
    Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)Tilney, John
    Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)Touche, Sir Gordon
    Garner-Evans, E. H.Manningham-Buller, Rt.Hn. Sir ReginaldTurner, H. F. L.
    George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. LloydMarlowe, A. A. H.Turton, R. H.
    Glover, D.Marples, A. E.Tweedsmuir, Lady
    Godber, J. B.Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)Vane, W. M. F.
    Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Maude, AngusVaughan-Morgan, J. K.
    Gough, C. F. H.Maudling, R.Wade, D. W.
    Gower, H. R.Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
    Graham, Sir FergusMedlicott, Brig. F.Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)
    Grimond, J.Mellor, Sir JohnWalker-Smith, D. C.
    Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)Molson, A. H. E.Wall, Major Patrick
    Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir WalterWard, Hon. George (Worcester)
    Hall, John (Wycombe)Moore, Sir ThomasWard, Mitt I. (Tynemouth)
    Hare, Hon. J. H.Morrison, John (Salisbury)Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
    Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.Watkinson, H. A.
    Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)Nabarro, G. D. N.Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
    Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)Neave, AireyWellwood, W.
    Harvie-Watt, Sir GeorgeNicholls, HarmarWilliams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
    Hay, JohnNield, Basil (Chester)Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
    Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
    Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir LionelNugent, G. R. H.Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
    Wills, G.
    Heath, EdwardNutting, AnthonyWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
    Henderson, John (Cathcart)Oakshott, H. D.Wood, Hon. R.
    Higgs, J. M. C.O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
    Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
    Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)Orr, Capt. L. P. S.Mr. Vosper and
    Mr. Richard Thompson